Other Sports

Golf | Varner leads as McIlroy charges in

Making amends: Rory McIlroy fired a 63 to join Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele for a shred third spot.

Making amends: Rory McIlroy fired a 63 to join Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele for a shred third spot.   | Photo Credit: TOM PENNINGTON

Spieth and DeChambeau are tied second, one stroke behind

Harold Varner overcame a triple-bogey start to maintain the lead at the halfway stage of the Charles Schwab Challenge on Friday as the hard-charging Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth appear poised to strike.

Varner fired a four-under-par 66 at Colonial Country Club to reach 11-under 129 after 36 holes. “I have learned a lot about myself through adversity. America is going through adversity right now so it is pretty eye-opening,” said Varner.

Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are tied for second, one stroke back after a second consecutive 65s, while McIlroy fired a 63 to join Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele sharing third on 131.

England's Justin Rose and American Justin Thomas are tied for seventh.

This week's Charles Schwab Challenge is full of firsts, the biggest change being the absence of spectators.

“When that first birdie putt went in and I didn't get a clap ... my hand was trying to go up to wave to someone in the gallery, but there's obviously no one there,” McIlroy said later.

After an opening 63 for the first-day lead, Varner took a seven at the par-four 10th hole to begin his second round, soaring off the tee and finding a bunker and rough before reaching the green.

Varner bounced back with birdies from four feet at 11 and 10 feet at the par-three 12th and par-three 16th holes.

“If you going to make a triple do it while you are playing well,” said Varner, seeking his first PGA Tour win.

“I got it back in a hurry, so that was nice... The way I finished was pretty awesome.”

After a bogey at 18, Varner closed with a flourish that started with a 31-foot birdie putt at the par-three fourth.

He made three more in a row, the last a 20-footer at seven, and closed with a 10-foot birdie putt at the ninth.

McIlroy opened at the 10th hole and birdied three times on the back side before sinking a 23-foot eagle putt at the par-five first hole and following with a 10-foot birdie putt at the second.

Back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh put McIlroy one stroke off the course record but a losing bogey dropped him two off Varner's pace.

Leading scores: 129 - Harold Varner (63, 66); 130 - Jordan Spieth (65, 65); Bryson DeChambeau (65, 65); 131 - Xander Schauffele (65, 66); Collin Morikawa (64, 67); Rory McIlroy (68, 63); 132 - Justin Thomas (64, 68), Daniel Berger (65, 67), Justin Rose (63, 69), Gary Woodland (65, 67), Branden Grace (66, 66).

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:53:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/golf-varner-leads-as-mcilroy-charges-in/article31822678.ece

Next Story